An excerpt from The Glass Horse.
“Somewhat sheltered from roadside view by a tight row of Poplars, the Ogdensburg farm buildings seem to rise out of a fertile fantasy brocade of pretty goodness mixed with the blinding beauty of a deep grass deceit. Here was that place birds remembered if allowed to choose where to die. This was that lowest hollow in Mother Nature’s back that men in search of place moan for. This was an electric home to biological allowance. This was an eclectic home to possibility in any pattern. This was a choral masterpiece of funky recycled sheds set against orchard set against fanciful wooden fences set against massive stone barn set against a home which was a cluster of gathered cabins connected by screened porches and shirted by open veranda encircled by a hand-holding ring of homemade rocking chairs which went on forever.”
An excerpt from The Elastic Signature: notes on painting.
“The camera lied to us but the demands of exposed film and the offered twinings of development at least allowed a chance at musicality, a chance of bludgeoned outlook, a chance to stack the fruit. The digital capture steals away the distance and forces us to live with the lies about scale, light layering, and interlock. Will it be the too easy emptiness of the digital that returns us all to the truth and useful poetry of paintings? Perhaps it has much to do with the making of a new ‘romance’, a new formula for blending essential comforts, the making of a ‘fughal’ pattern for working rhythms which allows each/some of us not just ‘our’ sound but constant changeability. Nothing out front, nothing behind, all within a perpetual, even circular metamorphosis. Most important is the morph of longing into belonging.”
An excerpt from Art of Working Horses
“The mechanics of the North American system of working horses and mules in harness developed over approximately three hundred years and were guided in the beginning by a rich tradition of old-world craft-based tradesmen who enjoyed new-found, colonial “freedom” of artistic circumstance. At the time the first trans-atlantic Europeans came to the new world they had to make do with what skills and tools they brought with them, there was no “local” infrastructure of support in what was then seen as a wilderness. This reality some-what freed the leather workers from the rigid bounds of thousands of years of tradition and caste, tradition going back to oxen and the first civilizations of the middle east and eventually the Roman Empire. Jumping ahead to the 18th century, as horses and mules became more readily available in the North American colonies, local tradesmen developed their own variations on the harness systems of the old countries. The basic framework remained the same but many unique distinctions arose.
“For each draft animal employed, the torso-encompassing harness system featured an engineered web of straps attached around the neck and from the chest and/or shoulders, translating the pushing of the animals to a pulling action. Expectations and successes had the approach quickly evolve to a modular system allowing that multiples of animals be hitched together for greater force and applicability. The harness involved some controlling restraint at the animal’s head, usually a “bit” in the mouth, but also, early on, it featured the presumption that sometimes the animal might be led by the head with a lead shank and a “halter.” The modern system employs long, segmented driving “lines” once made of rope or leather and today more commonly made of either leather or synthetic materials such as Beta (a material composed of petroleum-based synthetic materials). The animals were and are outfitted with either a wide strap-like breast collar or a stuffed encircling leather collar both of which they push against. From the ends of the breast collar run, backwards along the animal, heavy straps (or chains) called tugs or traces which hook to a “singletree.” Or, in the case of the stuffed leather collar, an offsetting matched pair of tube-steel or reinforced wood “hames” (rib-like in form) are affixed into the collar groove. These feature a bolt-assembly, at approximately one third from the bottom of the collar, to which are fastened two tugs or traces, each running parallel back along the animal and fastening to the apparatus which in turn fastens to that which is being pulled.
“As this harness system evolved, from region to region, increasing attention was put to the question of efficiency of draft, or said another way – the ease with which the draft animals might pull the load. Many saw, early on, that this was attained only if the comfort of the working animal was fully considered. But also, and included, were laws of physics to held to the forefront of design. For example; if the load drawn was to be drug along the ground’s surface, it became advantageous to reduce the friction by allowing that the forward motion also accomplished a slight lifting of the front of the load. (In this way the load became easier to pull.) It was found that combining a comfortable and well-fit harness with the right leverage tricks resulted in improved or even maximum draft efficiency.”
Two excerpts from Talking Man
“I write these words with no traditional goal or purpose, no proposed publication, no visualized audience. I write these words, I say these words, as tho it were a bleeding. From a short distance I know I need the coagulative properties of humor, of project work, of love’s distractions, of the needs of another. We do choose our words and our posture for different company, different ears, different needs. With a goal of communicating the procedures required for successful outcome, we go from A to B. With the goal of winning attention of another human person, we go from smile of recognition to look of wonder. So, when the audience is the wound, the bleeding wound, and the words are the blood, our behavioral filters are useless. It is not that caution is useless. It is that form comes from the knocking rhythms of ping ponging word balls in the hollow head. We need a word here, a turning, lifting phrase here, a tapping laundry list there. Ah, that’s right, we’ve found a beat! Does the beat require a story, a ballad, a purpose above itself? If countenance rises above and spiritualizes form, is beat implied, accelerated, accentuated, aggravated, lifting, pushing hum? Is beat a lasting factor or a string to pull with? In death does the beat remain? Countenance remains, glowing and caressing memories and purpose. Beat threatens to remain. And threats seem to come out of tempo, at odd hesitations, when the ‘thing’ would insert itself in the conveyor movement of inevitability. Threats destroy beat.”
“Who are Los Islaños? Those Jews and black Moors of Spanish assimilation who were flung to the Isle of Dogs, The Canary Islands, only to find themselves generations later scattered across the Caribbean and into a dark corner of New Orleans. Los Islaños, purest of mongrels holding on to the promise of earned heredity. Indignant in their belief that Inquisitional fascism’s evil would grant them the default of righteous existence. Willed by the first corporate dogs, the Catholic reprehentia, to go away, to disappear, to fall off the edge of the world, these offspring of perfect meldings fled knowing a time would come when they would own themselves, where they came from, what they smelt like – sounded like – danced like – ate like – smiled like – loved like. They would become a people, with or without herald. Hundreds of years later, their dark rancid beloved corner-ward of New Orleans would be destroyed during a hurricane but not by a hurricane. Rather it would be destroyed once again by the corporate dogs only this time through stupidity, greed, neglect and evangelical reprehentia. This time they are not to be chased to the edge of the world. No this time they are to be pushed into the rotting carcass of the new Babylonia. Their smells, sounds, dances, food, smiles and love practises are to be absorbed by the omnivorous many-tongued no-tongued five-toed credit-worthy clean-willed white-hearted load-leveling profitizing boardroom. The boardroom; that toilet of rationales, that wide urinal where castrated men and women stand together pissing away all vestige of a human dignity while voting not to vote, while choosing to anticipate the highest rate of short term return and following it like a crazed male dog follows a bitch in heat. The boardroom where digknity is spelled wtih a K and where Adolf Hitler would have felt completely at home. The sad sweet song of the death of Los Islaños. You can hear it on the wind if you stand, out of sight, in the swamp. The swamp, that nasty tangle of vine, tree, fungus, stagnant water, reptile hopes and melancholia where storms are absorbed and flung back upon themselves. This time, our time, the swamp is as much human failure as reptile hope. This time it struggles to absorb not only the terrible sadness of the death of Los Islaños but also the death of the mysteries and heatwaves of old New Orleans. The Army Corp of Engineers, the moronic White House, the vulgarities of political impotency, in every quarter the thieves we prefer to call money-launderers, all of them have murdered our nasty sweet beloved New Orleans. New Orleans was the insatiable groin of America. And she is gone. Never to return as before, never. And the American cultural body is not only castrated by the loss, it is rendered souless. Our (?) best hope is that this new Babylonia, rather than constructing a suicidal tower to itself, will trigger a cultural and social vortex which in turn will become a vorago – a gulf, a whirlpool, a quagmire or marvellous deep place that sucks or swallows up even rivers, and where nothing can come…
An excerpt from Thought Small
- Art of Working Horses
- Old Man Farming
- Why Farm
- Horses At Work
- Work Horse Handbook
- Horsedrawn Plows and Plowing
- Starting Your Farm
- Training Workhorses / Training Teamsters
- Horsedrawn Tillage Tools
- Haying with Horses
- The Mower Book
- Farmer Pirates and Dancing Cows
- Ten Acres Enough / The Small Farm Dream is Possible
- Elastic Signature: Notes on Painting
- Thought Small
- Talking Man
- The Glass Horse
- Working Horses